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Bible Engagement and Literacy

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Bible Society seeks to develop specialised resources to encourage indigenous people to engage with the Bible.

Scripture resources offering comfort for indigenous people in prison or hospital have been developed (see list below) and have proved a useful resource for  chaplains.

central aus best web“…you would not believe how these people have been blessed through this material. They see what I have and can’t wait to take one, they start to read and read. They have no other resource that addresses their hospital situation like this does.” Jeffrey Godwell, Chaplain at Townsville General Hospital.

With literacy levels declining, it is important to develop resources that can be used effectively by indigenous people in remote locations. These are often ‘custom made’ by Bible Society developed in conjunction with other mission partners. Bible Society then prints and distributes these literacy aids and Bible engagement tools to lay people and pastors in outback Australia. A large range of materials that is out of print could be revised, re-formatted and made available again if resources were available to do this strategic and much requested work.

The Bible Society is also developing audio-visual & video resources which tell Bible stories using indigenous voices, graphics and music and it is working towards making all of these resources available for download on the web.

The Bible Society is continuing to develop additional children’s and youth resources for young indigenous people. Development costs are high because of the diversity of language groups. These are of immense strategic importance as we help the next generations to gain confidence in literacy and the self-worth that is found in Jesus Christ.

Bible engagement and literacy - Indigenous

Resources like God’s Story for the Outback Kid’s Colouring Pack is distributed freely to children in indigenous communities, and is now available in eight different indigenous languages.

Bible Engagement Resources include:

  • The Bible Society’s booklet When You are Sick is a  booklet of illustrated Bible verses, with a story from the Gospel and the Lord’s Prayer. It is published in 3 languages – English, Kriol and Pitjantjatjara. A second smaller fold-out pamphlet For You in Hospital contains several relevant Bible passages in large print.
  • Free to Belong is a Scripture resource for indigenous people in gaol. The booklet is made up of Bible passages from the CEV (Contempory English Version) in large print. ”Why you are there is irrelevant,” says Bible Society’s Gillean Smiley, “The fact is that people ARE there – separated from their families and their land. But nothing can separate you from the love of God.” This booklet serves as a reminder that prison walls can’t block the value each person has in God’s estimation nor the profound freedom He promises as part of His family.
  • Produced in Queensland as a partnership between Jisas wantaim/djaywunti and the Bible Society, The Deadly News! Gospel of Mark booklet includes testimonies of indigenous Christians. “To most people ‘deadly’ is to do with death, someone dying. In today’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, us mob use the term “deadly” to mean good. For instance, if someone scores a really good try in touch footy we might sing out “That was deadly!” Meaning that was good!” ”By calling this book The Deadly News! it probably works in both ways… firstly, it is about a real death – the fact that Jesus died. It is also about how that story of Jesus’ death, that news, is good for us.”

Deadly News GospelIndigenous Christian leaders, Uncle Graham Paulson (dec) and Aunty Jean Phillips give the following message to indigenous people in their introduction to this Gospel booklet:

“Our people have long believed in a Creator. We have long known that the world is a spiritual place, and have long believed in the importance of relationships. How exciting for us to find out that the Creator God whose Spirit works and walks this land wants to be in relationship with us through His Son Jesus! That news is deadly. We believe that as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders we can find purpose, meaning and a future by authentically living this way… we pray thatThe Deadly News! will help you in this way.”



You can support the development of specialised resources to encourage indigenous people to engage with the Bible by donating today. Donations to this project are tax deductible.


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